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The crop protection programme includes both applied and basic research on nematology, entomology and plant pathology. The crop protection technical advisory committee assesses research outputs and research priorities. Entomology and pathology peer workgroups assess proposed and current research projects and provide guidance to the researchers involved in the programme. Various workgroups including groups dealing with current crop protection issues aid in identifying research needs and prioritizing research projects. Ensuring the sustainability of the fruit production process is a critical aspect of crop protection research and emphasis is placed on biological control, orchard ecology, phytosanitary threats and precision agriculture.

Crop protection research during this season has again been challenging with various logistic issues. A number of important projects were completed, and the phytosanitary research facility (PHYLA) is nearing completion. Research on polyphagous shot-hole borer was initiated and a multidisciplinary programme spanning several disciplines has been proposed and instituted in part.

Matthew Addison

Matthew Addison

Crop Protection programme manager
(positioned at Stellenbosch University)

Various other aspects such as taxonomy are also addressed.

As with the other industry research, the prioritisation and selection of research projects is determined by the Crop Protection Technical Advisory Committee and assessed by the Entomology and Pathology Peer Work Groups. The Integrated Pest Management group is also influential in overall research direction and it allows for current crop protection related issues to be addressed. The current challenges in crop protection research are many but phytosanitary issues and invasive pests are regarded as critical.

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